Townsend, Tennessee

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is cloudy and we have had a few sprinkles this morning.  Little River is running a little stronger than yesterday and it is clear.  It looks great.  Yesterday the level rose to about 265 cubic feet per second.  That was after 1/3” of rain here.  Then it dropped back down to 192 cfs by this morning.  Normal for today is 264 cfs.

But, look at the radar.  According to that we are going to get pounded with rain any minute.  A broad band of moderate to heavy rain will arrive shortly unless some miracle occurs.  The weather forecast for the next three days calls for rain, rain and rain.  After that for the next seven days they say it could rain. 

The green on the radar is over us right now.  It is raining.  The yellow should be here in about 5 minutes.  That is moderate rain.  Then, here comes some red.  I would have never thought 20 years ago that I would be watching realtime weather on my personal computer.  Technology!  Of course I never thought I would be talking to a million people on a website either.  But that’s what we do in this 600 square foot room.

Fishing should be good today if the rivers are not blown out.  The water temperature is perfect.  I talked to one customer yesterday who fished with a guide on Abrams Creek.  They didn’t catch many.  It was probably this front moving in that slowed things down.  The guide and his client are both excellent anglers.  I talked to another customer who fished day before yesterday with Hugh and they had a good day.  This was his first time to fish for trout with a fly rod. 

Smallmouth bass are very active in the rivers and lakes.  It’s time for them too.  I’m getting ready for a couple of days of smallmouth fishing, the week after Troutfest.  Paula and I are planning to float 14 miles of Little River over two days in a canoe.  Our dogs are gone and now we can go somewhere.  We have been housebound for a few months caring for 15 year olds.  I miss them very much but it is nice to be able to do normal things like go fishing.  I’m even looking at buying a boat again.  I won’t have time to do that either until after Troutfest. 

I got a call yesterday from Larry Friedman of Fly Fisherman Magazine.  He saw one of our small Troutfest displays in a fly shop in Georgia.  We sent out a free standing 8.5” x 5.5” poster mounted on a foam board with tons of business cards to every store in 7 states that sell fly fishing tackle.  We also contacted each one of them by phone.  There were about 100 stores involved.  A couple of them closed their doors after we did the mailing and their packages were returned. 

This was part of our Troutfest marketing program. Our primary market machine was the website and this website.  So Larry saw this poster and contacted me.  I think the magazine will have a vendor booth at our Exposition.  He will let me know Monday.  That is a big deal.  I hope they do it.

According to Joe Hatton, (who with Rufus King are Vice-Chairmen of the event), we have sold enough banquet tickets and vendor booths to pay for Troutfest’s expenses.  Our out of pocket cost is right around $10,000.  Tents, tables, chairs, printing, advertising and some of the food is paid for.  The beer has been donated.  Most of the food is donated.  For instance, Bush Beans donated the beans.  Our own IGA here in Townsend donated everything else except for the chicken.  Jack Gregory and Paula are in charge of food.  Jack buys free range chickens that have not been fed any chemicals their whole life.  They taste better and they are better for you.

So, all new revenue we take in will be profit and donated to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  So, how much will we make?

The banquet auction and raffle items have a retail value of around $20,000 according to Rufus.  Last year we took in 80% of retail.  If that happened again we will make $16,000 Friday night. 

The Little River Chapter Store which will be a separate tent at the Expo will sell books written by Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser, Joe Humpreys and other writers.  They will sell Troutfest 75th Anniversary T-Shirts.  And they will sell other Troutfest memorabilia.  Daniel and Joe are ordering around $5,000 worth of books at wholesale.  If they all sell we’ll have revenue of $10,000 and clear $5,000.  We can send back the books we don’t sell.  We do have to pay freight. 

So now we’re up to $21,000.  Charlie Down’s bamboo rod that we are raffling will clear $2,500.  That brings the total to $23,500.  Then there is the Fly Tying Tent.  We are selling weekend passes for a donation of $10. Kids 13 or under will get in free. If 1,000 people go through the tent our profit will be $10,000.  If we get 2,000 people we’ll make $20,000 and so on. During the next two weeks we should sell between 50 and 100 more banquet tickets at $50.  So that will generate between $2,500 and $5,000. The Casting Contests bring in quite a bit of revenue but I don’t know how much.

So the profit and potential donation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park could be as high as $50,000.  Maybe it will only be $20,000.  We are covering a lot of new ground this year.  Though I am Chairman, all decisions were made by the Executive Committee.  I might have done some urging but the way I had it set up, I was not on the Executive Committee and if anything had come down to a vote I would not have had one.  Nothing ever came down to a vote. We all worked together very well.  The committee was a machine, a smooth operating machine with no rattles or vibration.  The kind of machine I like.

We have been working on Troutfest since July of 2008.  The committee met every month except two.  Planning began early, volunteers started working 10 months before the event.  That is the way this event should be done.  Everyone knows for ten months what they are supposed to do.  And they did it.  We all owe a special thanks to the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau including Herb Handly who runs it and the staff, Deborah, Jeanie and Mary. Without them Troutfest would not have a home. It wouldn't happen.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us. 

Byron Begley
May 2, 2009 

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